While many of our patients are athletes, knowledge gained in the practice of sports medicine can benefit patients of all ages and activity levels.
Sports medicine is a multi-disciplinary branch of medicine that has three related, yet distinct forms of application:
- The prevention or treatment of injuries and disorders that may result from exercise or sport
- A form of prescription to treat or mitigate various diseases and their symptoms (often referred to as Exercise as Medicine)
- The enhancement of physical fitness, strength, power, and mobility
Many of our patients participate in sport, yet sports medicine is applicable to those who are not regularly active as well. Kinesiology, nutrition, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, and psychology are some of the disciplines that contribute to the study of sports medicine. There are many different types of professionals involved when formed as a team: orthopedic surgeons, physiologists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, sports nutritionists, dietitians, sports psychologists, neurologists, cardiologists, etc.
The practice of sports medicine has been around since the 7th century BC.
Sports medicine may be thought of as a relatively recent study and practice, but historians date it all the way back to the 7th century BC in ancient Greece. With the rise of the Panhellenic Games (i.e., the Olympics), coaching and athletics became notable careers, which eventually led to the need of trainers and physicians to treat their injuries and enhance their performance. The early trainers were known as gymnastes and had knowledge in anatomy, physiology, and nutrition.
Herodicus and his student Hippocrates, of the 5th century BC, are credited with laying the foundations of sports medicine (1). The first use of exercise as medicine in order to treat disease and maintain health is attributed to Herodicus, the “Father of Sports Medicine.” He also recommended a healthy diet and specific massage techniques as ways to improve health (2,4). Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine,” was a physician who founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine and is credited with coining the Hippocratic Oath (an oath physicians and their assistants take still to this day, swearing that they will uphold certain ethical standards). He believed and argued that illnesses were products of environmental and lifestyle factors, not punishments given by the gods (3).
A brief timeline of the history of sports medicine:
- 1928: Association Internationale Medico-Sportive was founded during the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland (5)
- 1950: National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) was founded (6)
- 1954: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) was founded by a group of educators and physicians who associated certain health problems with lifestyle choices (5)
- 1968: Dr. J.C. Kennedy formed a team of physicians to care for and travel with the athletes of the Summer Olympics of that year (6)
Sports medicine today…
Today the field and practice of sports medicine is prevalent and continues to become increasingly popular and recognized. There are Sports Medicine departments in high schools, community colleges, and universities that care for their athletes. The number of universities that offer Sports Medicine as an academic major is growing as well. From professional sports teams to individuals needing to recover from an injury, physicians in the field of sports medicine are highly trained and ready to help.
At Pacific Coast Sports Medicine, we offer a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team dedicated to treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Our professional staff collaborates for a diagnostic and treatment plan specific to each patient. We go beyond the standard of care for most clinics, not only providing state-of-the-art sports medicine techniques, but also exploring the new frontiers of regenerative orthopedics. These techniques can benefit not only professional athletes, but anyone with musculoskeletal disorders. Consultations and second opinions are provided for athletes and their agents.
- Gemas TK. The evolution of sports medicine. Lakewood Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Web site. http://www.losmdfw.com/pdf/the-evolution-of-sports-medicine.pdf. Accessed September 23, 2014.
- Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodicus. Updated August 19, 2013. Accessed September 23, 2014.
- Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocrates. Updated September 18, 2014. Accessed September 23, 2014.
- Masterson DW. The ancient Greek origins of sports medicine. Br J Sports Med. 1976;10(4):196-202.
- Sports Medicine. Encyclopedia Britannica Web site. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/561067/sports-medicine?anchor=ref1083661. Accessed September 23, 2014.
- The History of Sports Medicine. NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine Web site. http://www.northeastspineandsports.com/blog/2014/05/history-of-sports-medicine/. Accessed September 24, 2014.